29/30: Dedicating a whole day to absolutely nothing.

A free-write from this afternoon.

My day started around 8am, but I didn’t actually get up and moving until about 9:30. I rolled over to see the morning sun shining through my bedroom window and I remembered that I had nothing planned for the day so I flipped through a few pages in my book and then spent a few minutes on Instagram. I often try to refrain from checking social media until after I get up and shower, but I kinda saw today as a “do whatever you want” kind of day.

After showering, I decided to have a house cleaning catch-up day. I repotted a few plants, added soil to the flower boxes outside, watered the plants on my windowsill, and then moved on to all the random pothos hanging in various locations all around my house. After finishing with the plants, I moved into my room and started cleaning and organizing all my shelves, drawers, and closet space. I took everything off my desk and wiped away all the dust that accumulated over the past couple of weeks.

I opened all my windows and let the fresh air circulate through the rooms.

Days like this are necessary for me. Sometimes I forget how easily my social battery becomes drained, and this transition back into having two jobs has been a little difficult. I’ve been working in restaurants for almost a decade.. ugh actually I got my first restaurant job in 2011 so its officially been a decade. Anyway, I love working with people in a restaurant/bar environment but there are some things that start to slowly get under your skin.

As a server, I’m supposed to be extremely friendly. I’m already a social and kind human in my personal life, but I’m firm with people when I don’t feel like I’m being respected. As a server, I’ve found ways to navigate the rude/creepy comments. Creepy comments are part of the job because many customers either mistake customer service for flirting, or they choose to be creepy because if you’re rude to them, you won’t get tipped. There have been several situations where folks have crossed the line and I’ve either refused to continue serving them, or had another server with tables.

On Saturday night, there was a customer that came in by himself. He sat in my section and we talked about bicycles and international travel. I mentioned my bike was a POS and that it really only gets me to and from work. He asked if I rode my bike today, and I said yeah. He mentioned that he knew of a good bike shop. I walked away to check on a table, then returned to see if he needed anything else. He handed me his phone and told me to put my number in there so he can help me with the bike situation.

As a server, I’ve had countless men either ask for my number, or scribble it onto the bottom on a receipt. I made it a personal rule that I’d never give out my number and instead I’d give them my instagram account. It’s been so long since I’ve been in a situation like this that I gave him my number because it was so sudden and unexpected, and I didn’t know what else to do. As soon as he had my number, things took a turn. He immediately asked if I would join him on a three day bike trip in NH. He asked what time I was getting out. He asked what time I’d be going home. I deflected most of these questions, but he still knew I was closing and that I rode my bike into work.

He finished his food and left the patio, but he didn’t leave the area. He sat on a chair near the restaurant for 30 minutes, then continued to move further and further away from the patio, but he was always in view of where I was working. I saw this guy hovering in the distance for about 2-2.5 hours. I alerted the door guys, a manager, and some of the coworkers at my job. All of them were unsettled by this person who continued to hover in the distance. Eventually I went outside and couldn’t see him anymore. It would’ve been nice knowing that he left the area for good, but I had no way of knowing. I was unsettled by the uncertainty of this person’s whereabouts. Did he actually leave, or is he just out of sight? My coworkers advised me to take an uber home after work.

One of my coworkers looked at me and said “I couldn’t imagine doing this job as a woman. Not with all the weirdos out there these days.”

I regularly put up with creepy comments like “wow no one told me such a pretty woman would be serving me beer here” or “do you come with any of the specials?” I often joke about how easy it is to get certain men to tip you more because all you have to do is flirt back and they’ll leave you more money because they think it’ll make the chances of getting our numbers more likely. However, the dark side of this is that some guys will be creepy in more subtle ways because they know YOU know you won’t make money if you don’t go along with it. I understand that this is one of the unspoken expectations but being stalked by a guy from across the sidewalk for 2.5 hours is not part of the job.

After we closed, I sat at the bar for an hour waiting for an uber/lyft but none of them were available. I could bike home, but I was worried about the possibility of running into this man alone in the dark at 2am while unlocking my bike. Eventually, I found a friend to walk me home and he said “As a guy, I’d feel fine out here but you really shouldn’t be doing this walk by yourself at night.” He’s probably right, but I don’t want to constantly be afraid. I want to walk home from a long shift without being worried that someone might be waiting for me to be alone. I want to put on make up and get dressed without the assumption that I’m only doing it to attract a man. I want to be kind to those around me without the fear of someone mistaking my smile as an invitation to violate my space. I want to tell someone that they make me uncomfortable without the fear of their rage. I want to feel comfortable being alone in the same room with a man but to this day, nothing scares me more than the “what if’s” of being in a room alone with a man.

Sometimes I dedicate days to doing absolutely nothing because I’m so depleted of energy from living in fear of the “what if’s” but instead of relaxing, I just find myself thinking about all the ways clearing my thoughts will never be as easy as clearing the shelves in my room. I open my windows every morning in hopes that the fresh air will blow away some of the fear residing in my chest. I read books in the sunny chair by the window because it reminds me of how I used to feel before the world turned me cold. I’ve accumulated so many plants because seeing them continue to grow and sprout new leaves gives me hope that growth is possible under the proper conditions.

When I think about all the things I fear but cannot change, doing absolutely nothing isn’t possible.


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